Britain’s major homebuilders have so far pledged to spend around £1.3billion to remove cladding and other fire hazards from mid-rise apartment buildings, but are still short of the £4billion sterling needed to avert another Grenfell Tower type disaster.
On Wednesday, Barratt Developments and Redrow were the latest to reveal how much they would set aside to address life-threatening fire safety issues in housing estates built by the companies over the past 30 years. Barratt said the move would cost him up to £400m, while the figure for Redrow is £200m.
The sums come on top of cash already set aside by rivals including Bellway, who has so far pledged £186.5million, and Taylor Wimpey, who has pledged to spend around £245million , under increasing pressure from the government.
Barratt said his decision to sign an industry pledge to address the issue reflected four years of talks with the government, following the Grenfell Tower fire in London in June 2017 that killed 72 people and left attributed in part to the developers’ use of combustible coatings. Home builders stressed that they were following building regulations set by the government at the time.
“Through constructive engagement between industry and government, a proportionate and sensible approach has been found and we look forward to completing the remediation process as quickly as possible,” Barratt said.
Persimmon confirmed earlier this week that it plans to spend around £75m to fix the problem, while Crest Nicholson said the cleanup will cost the company between £80m and £120m. The Berkeley Group said it was committed to fixing the problem, but did not disclose its own estimates.
The collective provisions of the UK’s largest homebuilders are still short of the £4billion the government estimates is needed to address fire risks in mid-rise buildings – between 11 and 18 meters high – in England, Scotland and Wales.
The pledges so far come under pressure from Housing Secretary Michael Gove, who pushed 53 UK developers to sign a pledge to cover rehabilitation costs and stop tenants footing the bill.
However, some private promoters are withholding their commitments, fearing that the financial burden will push them to failure.
The Home Builders Federation (HBF) lobby group said the government had not explained how it had arrived at the £4billion estimate. This includes the costs of repairing housing blocks built by foreign companies and companies that have gone bankrupt, but it is unclear who will be required to cover these costs, or who will be responsible for repairing older developments. 30 years old.
The cost of removing hazards such as the cladding of buildings over 18 meters is expected to be funded in part by a 4% levy on homebuilders’ profits from property developments in the UK.
The HBF said the money pledged so far demonstrated “the commitment of UK homebuilders to step up and meet the government’s ‘polluter pays’ demand and our longstanding principle that tenants don’t shouldn’t pay the bill”.
He said other industry companies, including contractors and insulation and cladding manufacturers, should also be asked to cover the costs of any buildings not covered by commitments to date.
“We strongly affirm that other parties … are invited to make contributions before the government makes further demands on UK homebuilders to repair buildings with which we had absolutely no involvement. If ministers are really interested in the ‘polluter pays’ principle, that seems fair,” the HBF said.